This was a below average pool and building a board that could get into the 200s was difficult. The most obvious things to do are to place a Forbidden Scroll in the serpent corner and to use all 4 Bog Hands to make up for the low damage of the other tiles. An open question I had was whether to use a “conservative” build that had Jagged Saws in the center, or to be greedier and put Vampiric Spears there instead. My first good score was with a compromise build, since I couldn’t decide.
First, he moves the Scroll to the far corner. This was counterintuitive to me since it’s weak if you get trapped in the corner with a 4 diamond Wasp. But it’s quite strong in the sense that you can power level it to level 1 and then ignore it for the rest of the game. If you place it 1 to the right, as I have done, it wastes space later in the game. Also, Dominic’s powerful stun ability makes him less concerned about getting trapped anyway.
Second, he uses Repercussion Drums. I had written them off as weak due to the powered up serpents putting pressure on Dominic’s diamonds, especially before they get to max level. However, as the only way to do 4 damage, it seems like they were still worth it.
Third, he plays a very greedy build with no Jagged Saws at all. I wasn’t quite ready to throw away my early game that much, but I knew I had to weaken my early game (resulting in more failed starts) and strengthen my late game to compete. This meant moving the Saws to the edges and corners, replacing them with Spears.
I internalized these lessons and after a lot of gnashing of teeth, I barely beat JackMule’s score. For now, at least, this is the top board:
– Got rid of the Bows. If these aren’t fully leveled by late game, they’re a huge liability and can get you indefinitely trapped, doing 1 heart damage to 4 health monsters.
– Rearranged the Bog Hands to “point at” the Serpent corner. When I parked on one of the lower Vampiric Spears in the late game, my old layout would have Serpents flanking me. Although it’s harder to level than before, it’s a much stronger formation against Serpents later.
– Added a Forbidden Scroll to the Cube corner. My logic here is that in the late game I often can’t afford to step off of a Vampiric Spear to do diamond damage, making Cubes take two hits and slow me down. Of course, you need Cubes to level up your Bog Hands, so I ignored the tile until these were close to fully leveled.
Some notes on playing the board, if you want to try it out:
– Rush xp onto the Serpent Scroll early. It’s OK to burn 2 moves but I wouldn’t waste more.
– If you you can, prioritize the lower Bog Hands (don’t waste many moves), since they’re harder to get to.
– If it’s safe, kill Serpents with Bog Hands early to help level them.
– Ignore the Cube scroll until you are highly leveled. It’s bad to level it early and will only somewhat help you later.
Overall I’m happy about what I learned, and look forward to using these lessons in future Izus.